Coming from a Marketing background, I have on occasion been guilty of entertaining the view that the function of Finance was that of the ‘Fun Police’.
Administrative in nature, Finance is more about governance, compliance and processes. We right-brained, creative thinking individuals in Marketing never actually understood Finance. After all, what can Finance possibly know of the pressures and demands Marketing face in meeting the company’s overall business goals?
Subsequently, the more I conversed with Finance teams, the more I realised the Office of Finance are, in fact, ‘Brothers in Arms’, sharing similar experiences as Marketing.
Adaptive Insights found in their latest CFO Indicator Survey*, that the availability of ever- increasing amounts of data and better analytics, along with new performance managing technologies, transports Finance and Marketing to a ‘Renaissance’ period. No longer can Finance be viewed as the ‘bean counters’ nor Marketing the ‘cost centre’ departments. A more realistic view is that of strategic companions adding value to the overall aims of their organisation by partnering in the Business Transformation. So, how does this collaborative Business Transformation occur?
Drive Enterprise-Wide Collaboration:
In the case of the Office of Finance, they are broadening their reach and working cross- functionally across groups by facilitating Business, and involving them in the planning process critical to business decisions, goal setting and overall corporate performance management. The key is to find a way to share expertise and strategic insights effectively and efficiently. This takes time and requires all parties involved to operate from a common shared understanding and conviction.*
As for the Marketing function, it is imperative that all key stakeholders be aligned to capitalise on campaign ROI. All campaign stakeholders must have a good understanding of the overall campaign objectives. Here it is the influence of the message, the attractiveness of the value proposition, the appropriateness of target audience, the offer and the call to action that distinguishes the campaign.
Consequently, in both case (Finance and Marketing) common objectives and goals are paramount to improving corporate and / or product performance, and are therefore the key to success of both Finance and Marketing performance.
Management of Data:
Historically Marketing would use the annual planning meetings to create a go-to-market strategy, marketing plans and budgets. With the advent of social media and greater emphasis on data analytics and sophisticated marketing analytics platforms, marketers must adjust their practices to a more data and technology driven environment.
Finance is finding a similar challenge. Traditionally only having to manage data from financial ledger sources, they are now dealing with multiple sources of data. For instance, while financial data is their domain, CFOs are increasingly being asked for non-financial data like human resources, sales data, operational uptime, production outputs, etc.—by their CEOs. CFOs are now required to analyse the past, report on the current, and forecast the future. Here, CFO’s give a real holistic view of the business—a vision that is no longer ‘a nice to have’ but more ‘a must have’ for CFOs and their teams across the globe.
Embrace the Renaissance:
As Finance and Marketing functions collaborate towards Business Transformation to meet the Business expectations, they must embrace this ‘Renaissance’ to deliver insights successfully.
The volume of data collected via the various source systems, transforming the data into information while storing it on reliable analytical infrastructure allows for its use in an easy to access format so all audiences & stakeholders can easily understand it. In doing so, Finance & Marketing collectively play key parts in driving business performance and help to guide corporate performance transition from the traditional to the modern.
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